Nothing should surprise you about the Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers' first-round series.
Just like their 2012 version, this series has been as much about a clashing of basketball ability as it has been a test of wills.
As is the case with any compelling playoff clash, though, the individual battles have become even more entertaining to watch than the games themselves.
The basketball purists may first be drawn to the chess moves and counters made by point men Chris Paul and Mike Conley, but even the most casual observer had to be drawn into the interior showdown of Zach Randolph and Blake Griffin.
When Randolph took to the media to challenge Griffin's ability to deal with a high right ankle sprain, with his particularly pungent "It's a big-boy game" making the media rounds (via Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com), it figured to be only a matter of time before the battle of words became physical.
Midway through the third quarter of Friday night's Game 6 in Memphis, the pair became entangled while jostling for rebounding position on a Conley three-pointer.
The twosome crashed to the floor, drawing the all-too-popular response from the officials:
Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph wrestle each other to court after Mike Conley 3 pointer. Griffin-Randolph called for double foul.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) May 4, 2013
ESPN color commentator Jon Barry had Randolph going from the half-nelson. But if my WWE memory serves me correctly (it's a little rusty at this point), I've got Randolph down for a semi piledriver and Griffin with some form of a DDT.
Of course, the league office won't need to worry about correctly identifying the pair's maneuvers, but there's certainly a lot to be examined here:
Did ZBo put a hand on Blake's neck?— devin kharpertian (@uuords) May 4, 2013
Either this was Griffin's chance to shed his "fake tough guy" label in front of a national audience, or he simply forgot who he was tangled up with:
Hey Blake, that's Zach Randolph. Go easy. He's nuts.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) May 4, 2013
Or maybe the savvy endorser just thought this was his latest Kia plug:
“Who are you?” “I’m you from the future. I’m here to kill Zach Randolph before he can grow to adulthood.”— netw3rk (@netw3rk) May 4, 2013
"Hey UVO, take me to any time period in my life other than this."
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